Thriving marine life captured on video off the south-west coast
In late July, researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) took advantage of easing COVID restrictions and headed out into the National Park Zone of the South-west Corner Marine Park.
Surveys used bathymetry data collected with multibeam-sounders mounted on a local commercial wet line fishers’ vessel and baited cameras were dropped from a local charter and ex-cray fishers’ boat.
The team were rewarded with images of dhufish, pink snapper, rays and cuttlefish across deeper reefs covered in kelp, seagrass and sponge gardens.
The data collected from July is being used to plan larger and deeper surveys this October. Once collected, the surveys will produce seafloor maps and a range of baseline information for the marine park, including the type, location and extent of habitats alongside the diversity and abundance of marine species.
The aim of this project, funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program Marine Biodiversity Hub, UWA and Parks Australia, is to provide the essential knowledge necessary to understand our offshore habitats on Australia’s continental shelf and assess the biodiversity conservation impacts of marine parks around the Capes.
The South-west Corner Marine Park is managed by Parks Australia. More information and arrangements for commercial fishing in Australian Marine Parks can be found on the Parks Australia website and guidance on loading marine park boundaries and zones into your plotter can be found here.